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Longitude (disc 2) (2000)
Rating:
Starring: Michael Gambon, Jeremy Irons, Ian Hart
Director: Charles Sturridge
Category: Drama
Studio: A&E
Subtitles:
[None]
Length:
200 mins

 
 

 

The Time-Spanning High Seas Epic

Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal Of Fortune) stars in this sweeping adaptation of Dava Sobel's best-selling book which tells a time spanning parallel story of high seas adventure and political intrigue in the race to discover the life-or-death secret of Longitude.Determined to stop shipping losses on the oceans of the 18th century, Britain's Parliament offers an unprecedented cast award to anyone who can devise a way to determine longitude at sea.Convinced he can solve the problem that has defeated England's best minds, rural clock maker John Harrison (Michael Gambon) begins an obsessive, 40-year struggle to claim the Longitude prize with his ingenious marine clock.Two hundred years in the future, naval officer Rupert Gould (Jeremy Irons) stumbles across Harrison's forgotten chronometers.A veteran of the Great War, Gould sets out to bring some measure of order to his own shell-shocked life by devoting himself to restoring Harrison's long-neglected mechanical masterpieces.Interwoven in an epic tale spanning two centuries, Longitude is a lavishly produced voyage into the farthest reaches of human passion, perseverance and discovery.

Disc I:
Following a series of particularly disastrous shipwrecks in 1714, the British Parliament's astonishing offer for a method of finding longitude at sea sparks a wild race to claim the prize.But when a self-educated, rural clock maker named John Harrison seems to be closing in on the solution, England's scientific upper-classes close ranks against him -- including forces within the British Royal Navy.Nearly 200 years later, naval officer Rupert Gould (Jeremy Irons) rediscovers Harrison's timepieces -- and begins his own remarkable, life-long campaign to restore them to their former glory.Gould begins his restoration work, and is continually astounded by the complexity and ingenuity of Harrison's craftsmanship and intuitive scientific ability.A war veteran -- whose front line experiences led to a mental breakdown, Gould finds that his work on the clocks brings a much-needed sense of purpose and discipline to his world.But as his family life suffers from his growing fascination with the clocks, he learns that his obsession carries a price.

Disc II:
Twenty years after the first, inconclusive test voyage of his marine timepiece, John Harrison is now joined in his efforts by his son William (Ian Hart).Finally prepared to prove once and for all that their clock is the ultimate solution to the longitude puzzle, John puts William on a ship bound for Jamaica, where he will test their newest timepiece in direct competition with their chief rival.Meanwhile, Rupert Gould is close to finishing his work on the Harrison chronometers -- until mental breakdowns threaten everything he has accomplished as well as his wife and job.For Harrison himself, however, the long-sought answer to the longitude question seems to at last be within reach, as he approaches the Longitude Board with the final version of the clock he believes will win the coveted prize.But when the Board's inner circle continues to conspire against him, Harrison has just one desperate option left.Now, while Rupert Gould struggles to regain control of his life -- and to regain access to the clocks that mean so much to him -- Harrison brings his cause before the King of England himself.As both Gould and Harrison enter the final, fateful stages of their mutual life-long quests, the extraordinary story of Longitude builds to the powerful conclusion of one of the most extraordinary odysseys in the history of science.